Posts Tagged ‘future’

Seeing the future

I cannot say this better than Dustin Curtis can, so read it: What a stupid idea.

They saw the future and they built it. But for some reason, my first reaction to their earliest attempts wasn’t to give them the benefit of the doubt–it was to immediately find problems and then dismiss their ideas.

The future is extremely hard to see through the lens of the present. It’s very easy to unconsciously dismiss the first versions of something as frivolous or useless. Or as stupid ideas.

We all talk about being disruptive, but how many people say things like “the relational database market is a $9bn market, I want to reduce it to a $3bn market and take 1/3 of that”? Saying is one thing, having the vision is another. That was me paraphrasing Marten Mickos (former CEO, MySQL – exit $1bn) speaking to Danny Rimer (partner, Index Ventures).

I live by the mantra that the best way to predict the future is to engineer it (via Alan Kay) and that the future is wide open.

How to spot the future

I just saw an amazing video from Wired editor Thomas Goetz (@tgoetz). If you have the time, do watch it (embedded below). He also has a longer article over at Wired on How to spot the future. I’ve just added his book to my reading list: The Decision Tree: Taking Control of Your Health in the New Era of Personalized Medicine.

I took some quick notes from the video:

  1. Look for cross-pollinators – e.g. Detroit meets Silicon Valley
  2. Surf the exponentials – bank on today’s technology, bet on tomorrow’s technology. CPUs, battery storage, bandwidth
  3. Favor the liberators – CDs are control, freeing up blockages is basically MP3 and BitTorrent technology. See AirBnB, Uber that brings liquidity to markets (via Reid Hoffmann)
  4. Respect audacity – Set audacious goals, you’ll solve a lot more things along the way. Too many apps, look for Tesla’s and Square’s who want to change the way we drive and make payments respectively
  5. Bank on openness – see Linux and the opensource movement in general. Microsoft compared it to a cancer (Steve Ballmer) and now they’re one of the biggest contributors to Linux. Twitter? Hashtags, retweets, etc. came from the users. Exploits your opportunity. Gives your good idea to reach a maximum number of people.
  6. Demand deep design – see Apple with their simple user manuals. Good design strips away the barrage of information. Help us understand information. Facebook has a lot of redesigns over the years, and everything they do is cajoling a user to share more; better organised. Same reason why Pinterest is so hot right now. Turns messy lives we live into something that actually looks beautiful. Deep design: turns chaos into curation.
  7. Spend time with time wasters – look at people who are spending time creating new tools, new language, new culture. Look at the DIY/maker movement, health 2.0, hackathons (organized time wasting – create even more than they start with).

Wired Editor Thomas Goetz: How to Spot the Future from WIRED and WIRED on